I think it was sometime around February 2014 when Deniz Orsel, my colleague from NIPO Software, came to me and said "I need you to build something...". Later it became apparent that he also already had discussed his idea with Serif Ozcan, another colleague of mine in NIPO Software and convinced him.
"Our customers are frequently asking for a tool like this yet it doesn't really fall under the category of 'Data collection' that's why NIPO Software does not invest in this" he said. As he explained, I realized it was a good opportunity and also a win - win situation for us and NIPO Software. I was convinced.
Startup life, starting a business and creating something valuable for people have always been interesting to me. I've been developing software for almost 10 years now (wow time flies...) and I really enjoy doing it. But software by itself does not mean anything. It only finds its meaning in a context where it touches human lives.
Switching between these two worlds: "mechanics of software" and "the context it touches and changes people's lives" gives more meaning to what I do and how I work. Starting a business around software and creating products demands this frequent switching and even many more skills related to different disciplines like marketing, sales, legal and trading rules in the country one operates.
Even if we end up making no money or even wasting money, I knew we could learn a lot from this experience as a whole and that's what really matters to me and my friends.
Ok fine but what is Kiwi?
Not everyone reading this blog is working in the area of market research let alone even familiar with the technical market research terminology. So instead of a single long technical definition I'll try to list some facts about Kiwi:
- Kiwi is a web based application that can be hosted in the cloud or in customer premises.
- Kiwi takes collected data that is either in NIPO or Triple-S format and transfers it to a SQL database in relational format and makes analysis & monitoring a lot easier. Apart from the data itself, Kiwi will also create the questionnaire structure in the target SQL database as a reference.
- Kiwi can transfer closed and open data files. It also allows consecutive transfers where it will continue adding to the existing data set in SQL without changing it.
- For these reasons Kiwi can be used by any market research company that is utilizing data collection platforms built by NIPO Software or any other platform that supports Triple-S standard.
I was planning to create a screencast to demonstrate how Kiwi works and what it does but didn't get around doing it as part of this blog post. That's high on my to-do list. Another post will be on its way soon.
We're software developers and technologists. Our biggest strength is our technical side. The first version of Kiwi is more or less completed. We're still in the process of making it more robust and user friendly. We're also preparing a strong documentation. Deploying and using Kiwi should be a piece of cake. As well as troubleshooting it.
On the other hand we're totally newbies in a few other areas. We still need to:
- Start a company here in the Netherlands. There are many things we need to figure out around taxation and legal aspects of starting a company and selling a product. It's currently a work in progress.
- Figure out a pricing strategy. We've been discussing about this for a while but haven't come to a final decision yet. We're also gathering ideas from friends in NIPO Software. It turns out that pricing is a much bigger concept than just simply putting a price tag on a product. It involves a bit more than that. Things get especially complicated around the topic of customer support.
- Create a site for the product and decide on some kind of a payment methodology. The company we're going to start will need a website. The product also needs a site of its own. When Kiwi becomes commercially available there will also be a payment system in place.
Still a bunch of things to do. We've been making steady progress but we're not in a hurry. Going at our own pace. Current target is to release Kiwi no later than 15th of January. No idea what happens next but one thing is clear: it will be adventurous.
Thanks for reading and if you have any comments please don't hesitate to add them below.